Dmoney
Topic Author
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Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2020 9:53 am

Long-er haul narrowbody crewing economics.

Tue Mar 17, 2020 1:38 pm

What times/distances are likely to be economic from a crewing perspective for A321 XLRs? Delta have expressed doubts about the economics of long haul narrow body in part due to the crew costs vs passengers carried. There is likely a sweet spot in terms of not requiring extra crew members and multiple days off while still flying longer distances. e.g. How do the crew requirements and rest requirements vary between say central Europe to East coast and south east US vs Western Europe and East Coast US. Or I suppose is their inflection point at which crew costs rise significantly?
 
MIflyer12
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Re: Long-er haul narrowbody crewing economics.

Tue Mar 17, 2020 2:09 pm

IMHO, any requirement for augmented crew is going to kill it. That's the cost of a 3rd pilot spread over ~160 seats vs. ~250 seats of a 787-8 (or larger).
 
VSMUT
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Re: Long-er haul narrowbody crewing economics.

Tue Mar 17, 2020 2:33 pm

For EASA rules, it is between 11 and 13 hours of duty for up to 2 flights, depending on when you start it. In practice, you will have to subtract an hour prior and probably at least 30 minutes after the flight. If doing a turnaround, you waste another hour. That allows you roughly a single 9-11 hour flight or two 4-5 hour flights.

So airlines will be able to do one TATL flight with a subsequent layover of the crew before returning back the next day. Or one India to Europe flight. I'd estimate that a Wizz Air XLR could just about make it to Abu Dhabi or Dubai and back again in the space of a single crew duty period.
 
dtw2hyd
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Re: Long-er haul narrowbody crewing economics.

Tue Mar 17, 2020 2:47 pm

I doubt the NB range with passengers and luggage will ever need the third member or augmented crew. There may be few instances of crew discretion extending the duty limits.
 
DoctorVenkman
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Re: Long-er haul narrowbody crewing economics.

Tue Mar 17, 2020 2:58 pm

MIflyer12 wrote:
IMHO, any requirement for augmented crew is going to kill it. That's the cost of a 3rd pilot spread over ~160 seats vs. ~250 seats of a 787-8 (or larger).


I don't think so. Let's be generous and assume an A321 captain's salary of $300k. Let's also be generous and assume only 500 flight hours per year per pilot (max is 1000). In this scenario, the extra pilot would cost the airline $600 per flight hour, or about $4,200 for a TATL leg. Using your numbers, that's $26/seat for an A321 vs.$17/seat for a 787. Hardly any difference at all - and that's being generous with the assumptions.
Last edited by DoctorVenkman on Tue Mar 17, 2020 3:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
CriticalPoint
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Re: Long-er haul narrowbody crewing economics.

Tue Mar 17, 2020 2:59 pm

dtw2hyd wrote:
I doubt the NB range with passengers and luggage will ever need the third member or augmented crew. There may be few instances of crew discretion extending the duty limits.


If the flight is over 8 hours in either direction it requires 3 pilots per Most contracts in the US.
 
CriticalPoint
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Re: Long-er haul narrowbody crewing economics.

Tue Mar 17, 2020 3:03 pm

DoctorVenkman wrote:
MIflyer12 wrote:
IMHO, any requirement for augmented crew is going to kill it. That's the cost of a 3rd pilot spread over ~160 seats vs. ~250 seats of a 787-8 (or larger).


I don't think so. Let's be generous and assume an A321 captain's salary of $300k. Let's also be generous and assume only 500 flight hours per year per pilot (max is 1000). In this scenario, the pilot would cost the airline $600 per flight hour, or about $4,200 for a TATL leg. Using your numbers, that's $26/seat for an A321 vs.$17/seat for a 787. Hardly any difference at all - and that's being generous with the assumptions.


The third pilot is an FO at US airlines so take that pay down to 200K also 800 hours would be a better average. Next add in taxes 401K and benefits hote rooms and perform.....so maybe 300k is a better number.....
 
TWFlyGuy
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Joined: Mon Apr 17, 2017 5:10 pm

Re: Long-er haul narrowbody crewing economics.

Tue Mar 17, 2020 3:12 pm

I wonder if they would try to float an idea of saying relief person is paid less for non-flight hours or something like that. Could be an interesting scenario if you're making more than standard domestic but not as much if you were the primary person..
 
AAMDanny
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Re: Long-er haul narrowbody crewing economics.

Tue Mar 17, 2020 3:13 pm

Crewing costs might come out higher, but the ability to charge more for the privilege of being able to offer direct options for customers on secondary markets/cities might outweigh that extra cost. Especially if they are on only player in the market, or able to offer a niche direct service.
 
dtw2hyd
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Re: Long-er haul narrowbody crewing economics.

Tue Mar 17, 2020 4:28 pm

AAMDanny wrote:
Crewing costs might come out higher, but the ability to charge more for the privilege of being able to offer direct options for customers on secondary markets/cities might outweigh that extra cost. Especially if they are on only player in the market, or able to offer a niche direct service.


That was also my thought. Non-stops not only can command a premium, but they also skip busy and expensive European hubs.

I would hazard a guess XLR trip cost would be 30% cheaper than 332/787.

I still can't believe 8hr is the maximum, 9-10hr is common for single crew set, ME3 pushing it to 12hr.
 
Jongum
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Re: Long-er haul narrowbody crewing economics.

Tue Mar 17, 2020 4:42 pm

You all realize that this has been happening for years on the 757? Continental/United, American and Delta have been running three pilots on the 757 and been doing quite well. If anything the lower costs of the A321 will help, not hurt.
 
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nighthawk
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Re: Long-er haul narrowbody crewing economics.

Tue Mar 17, 2020 5:09 pm

Jongum wrote:
You all realize that this has been happening for years on the 757? Continental/United, American and Delta have been running three pilots on the 757 and been doing quite well. If anything the lower costs of the A321 will help, not hurt.


I was just going to say this... United do it fairly frequently on their 757s, and it seems to work ok for them. Sure it costs a lot more per passenger than on a 787, but it can still be viable.

Also bear in mind that the 757 doesnt have space for crew rest, so a business class seat is blocked off for pilot rest, and 3 economy seats for cabin crew rest. Despite this, United seem quite happy to operate 8 hour sectors. I cant see it being any different at Delta.
 
VSMUT
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Re: Long-er haul narrowbody crewing economics.

Tue Mar 17, 2020 7:22 pm

Jongum wrote:
You all realize that this has been happening for years on the 757? Continental/United, American and Delta have been running three pilots on the 757 and been doing quite well. If anything the lower costs of the A321 will help, not hurt.


That is of course true, but what about all the new entrants to the long-haul narrowbody segment? Don't forget that Wizz Air, Air Asia, Frontier and IndiGo will be getting XLRs too. These are not only new to these sorts of operations, but also extremely mindful of costs.
 
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Phosphorus
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Re: Long-er haul narrowbody crewing economics.

Tue Mar 17, 2020 10:09 pm

VSMUT wrote:
Jongum wrote:
You all realize that this has been happening for years on the 757? Continental/United, American and Delta have been running three pilots on the 757 and been doing quite well. If anything the lower costs of the A321 will help, not hurt.


That is of course true, but what about all the new entrants to the long-haul narrowbody segment? Don't forget that Wizz Air, Air Asia, Frontier and IndiGo will be getting XLRs too. These are not only new to these sorts of operations, but also extremely mindful of costs.

True. We can fully expect them to play all kinds of tricks with costs, including introduction of "Second officer" position for relief pilot, with lower than FO's pay. Maybe some other "innovations", too. These have no legacy contracts, and can play around.
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